Monday, June 2, 2014

Afghanistan on My Mind

Afghanistan has been in the news a lot these days. The recent elections were widely acknowledged to be successful, if not quite perfect. President Obama announced the reduced troop levels. And Sgt. Bergdahl was recovered.

I have mixed feelings about all the "withdrawal" talk. Setting an arbitrary deadline seems like a recipe for failure, but without a firm deadline the Afghan government will never learn to ride the bike without the training wheels and will always expect us to keep them from falling off the bike.

I resent any talk of the U.S. abandoning Afghanistan. You don't get to call our withdrawal from Afghanistan "abandonment" after all the American blood and money that has been spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a functioning state that no longer provides a safe haven to al Qaeda and friends. At what point is Afghanistan's success or failure on Afghan hands, not ours?

I am emotionally invested in seeing Afghanistan succeed. I met some wonderful Afghans while I was there and I want to see them accomplish their dreams. I worked hard on projects that I'm proud of (ok, and a few I'm not so proud of). I lost a friend and colleague there. It's personal.

I've been home now for almost a year and life has thrown some distractions my way. I'm more removed from Afghanistan, but I still follow what's happening there. Just like I still follow what happens in Nepal, and Iraq, and Romania. I guess you can leave the country and move on, but part of the country stays with you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much for your dedication to your job, and for making your experiences available on this blog.

Do you have any advice for those who would like to change careers for foreign service?

I'm in my 9th year (at age 30) in IT with a large federal agency, and I'd like to leave the IT life behind to become an FSO (CO path).

Anywho, thanks again for keeping up such a great blog.